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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With retail data breaches becoming almost as common as clearance sales credit card issuers have an understandable sensitivity to fraud.

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But, many customers say banks too often decline cards first and field questions later!

“Yes, I have had that happen,” says Jeanne Sherman of Plano. So what explanation did her credit card company give her? “That I was outside of my zip code!”

Sherman, by the way, was shopping in Dallas. She says she didn’t realize how sensitive the triggers to ‘suspected fraud’ had become.

“Not within my own zip code?,” recalls Sherman, “I’ve had them call me if I’m international, or if I’m out in LA or something. It was horrible!”

Other customers who have been left red faced at the cash register tell us that card issuers have offered a variety of explanations for the frozen accounts: more than one purchase made within a short time span, purchases made at a store not previously visited, making a small purchase before making a more expensive one, and purchases made in different time zones, say while travelling.

“It’s kind of embarrassing,” says John Burks of Frisco. “They’re like ‘oh, they declined it’. I would be very upset.”

Burks says he’s been the victim of several recent retail data breaches. So, he appreciates the credit card companies’ vigilance. Sorta.

“I think it’s good that they’re looking out for our personal interests. But, there’s the opposite side where you have to deal with the other side of it.”

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Burks says he invested in an app that frequently changes his credit card passwords. He also keeps close tabs on the accounts.

Card companies tell us that they do notify customers immediately if a transaction is declined.

So consider this a reminder to check for messages if you find a ‘red faced’ moment in your shopping future.

“It could,” adds Sherman with a laugh, “just be ready to call.”


(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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